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OCE and Extreme Startups help Ontario entrepreneurs grow their businesses and secure follow-on investment

June 19, 2014

TORONTO, June 19, 2014 – Dozens of entrepreneurial-minded young Ontarians have benefitted from millions of dollars in startup funding and follow-on investment over the two years of the SmartStart pilot program, a partnership between Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) and Extreme Startups.

Funding for the SmartStart pilot was provided by FedDev Ontario’s Scientists and Engineers in Business initiative which improves the success rate of start-up businesses in southern Ontario by developing the business skills of young entrepreneurs in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and providing targeted support to help them bring innovative ideas and products to market.

“Our Government is committed to helping small businesses and entrepreneurs create jobs, growth and prosperity in southern Ontario,” said the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for FedDev Ontario. “I congratulate the final set of companies receiving support through the SmartStart pilot program to further develop their skills and products.”

“Since we launched the SmartStart pilot program in 2012, we have seen some great results for the companies we have supported,” says Dr. Tom Corr, OCE’s President and CEO. “The funding stemming from this collaboration between ourselves, FedDev Ontario and Extreme Startups has helped these companies grow and secure additional investments. We are pleased to see that work continuing.”

In total, 45 companies participated in the SmartStart pilot program. They created a combined total of 68 full-time jobs while securing more than $13 million in follow-on investment to build and grow their companies.

Launched in January 2012 as a two-year pilot program, SmartStart was established to support student or recent graduate-led start-ups with up to $30,000 in seed funding to be matched by at least one other private investor. Extreme Startups was co-investor in 23 of the 45 companies.

Through the pilot, entrepreneurs benefitted from funding and the expertise and time provided by OCE and its partners. They also attended a business skills boot camp and were provided with introductions and connections to a vast array of networks, potential partners and customers.

“The OCE SmartStart program has made a huge impact on both our portfolio companies and the Ontario startup ecosystem,” said Marcus Daniels, Managing Director at Extreme Startups. “We're excited to be part of its evolution and also witness that impressive follow-on investment number grow as these companies scale.”

OCE is now working to build on the success of the pilot and carry on the good work that began with SmartStart through the new provincial SmartStart Seed Fund program launched on April 24. Extreme Startups will continue to be one of OCE’s partners under the new program.

About Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Inc. (

Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) drives the commercialization of cutting-edge research across key market sectors to build the economy of tomorrow and secure Ontario’s global competitiveness. In doing this, OCE fosters the training and development of the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs and is a key partner with Ontario’s industry, universities, colleges, research hospitals, investors and government ministries. A champion of leading-edge technologies, best practices and research, OCE invests in sectors such as advanced health, information and communications technology, digital media, advanced materials and manufacturing, agri-food, aerospace, transportation, energy, and the environment including water and mining. OCE is a key partner in delivering Ontario’s Innovation Agenda as a member of the province’s Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE). Funded by the Government of Ontario, the ONE is made up of regional and sector-focused organizations and helps Ontario-based entrepreneurs and industry rapidly grow their company and create jobs. For more information visit

About Extreme Startups

Extreme Startups is a venture backed startup accelerator that supercharges founder development, optimizes product-market fit and graduates fundable companies. Our evolved programs provide an unrivaled combination of seed capital (up to $210K), digital product leadership education and access to a global pool of mentors. Investors and financial partners include Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), Relay Ventures, Rho Canada Ventures, Pinetree Capital and Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE). For more information, please visit:


Media contact:
Stuart Green
Manager, Media Relations
416-861-1092 x 1022